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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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February 21, 2005
Global Warming: Questioning 'science' is a good thing
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, Science

Last Friday, the Opinion Journal published an editorial: Hockey Stick on Ice - Politicizing the science of global warming in which the 'hockey stick' temperature graph of 'geoscientist' Michael Mann's - purported to demonstrate global warming - was shown to be unverified at best - overtly deceiving at worst.

The editors pointed out that the science underlying Mann's publication was questioned from the beginning - but that the questioners were orignally treated as heretics and some lost their jobs - standard 'brahmans of science' practice. Yet new papers have been published - Mann has had to publish a partial retraction - but still with no healthy scientific debate - in part because Mann refuses to publish his math.

Here's my take on it: current carbon dioxide levels are esitmated to be 370 parts per million (PPM) - compared to the pre-industrial age level of 275 PPM. At our current worldwide rate of burning 100 million barrels of oil A DAY and many times more than that in unrenewable fuels from a variety of sources our entire planet may have affected the CO2 level by 0.00000095 percent. Yep, that's the difference. We don't have any direct correlation between this increase - we just know that a bi-product of fuel burning is CO2. We also know that plant life consumes CO2.

But to suggest that altering the CO2 levels on the planet by 0.00000095 percent could have an effect of temperature change of anything measurable is ridiculous on its face. Its like suggesting that the air pressure in your tires could vary by 0.00000095 percent and might overturn your car (in reality the tire pressure varies more than 15% and seldom has anything to do with causing a car to turn over). No one (except perhaps Malcolm Gladwell) could make a substantive statistical calculation that could show otherwise. Mistaking the number of tires on a vehicle in a calculation involving vehicle miles can apparently be made in public without any consequences. Since Mann's calculations are even less defensible it is appropriate to see challenges coming now from many directions and different scientists.

I think this turns out to be another sacred cow in the scientific brahmanism that has come to dominate our culture in the last 150 years. This is about money grubbing along with philosophical and social agenda - rather than about fact finding true science. Like cosmological theory, origins theory, AIDS 'science', and some other arguments about the environemnt - like DDT for example - this is one other frail thing built upon shaky science in which we find that the emperor has no clothes when we look closely.

The Wall Street Journal editors end with what should be asked of all the current disciplines that are mired in orthodoxy and that ostracize their questioners like a modern inquisition:

There is also the not-so-small matter of the politicization of science: If climate scientists feel their careers might be put at risk by questioning some orthodoxy, the inevitable result will be bad science. It says something that it took two non-climate scientists to bring Mr. Mann's errors to light.

But the important point is this: The world is being lobbied to place a huge economic bet--as much as $150 billion a year--on the notion that man-made global warming is real. Businesses are gearing up, at considerable cost, to deal with a new regulatory environment; complex carbon-trading schemes are in the making. Shouldn't everyone look very carefully, and honestly, at the science before we jump off this particular cliff?

Indeed. And what about all the cliffs that we have already jumped off of? Will we have the courage to throw off the bonds of the brahmans of science and climb back up into reason again?

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People Pulling

This is dead on. Nice work. For more reading, "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg is a great read.

Journalists are not engineers. They've never learned what all of us engineers know which is that you always check the answer to see if it makes sense. Journalists have an editorial agenda to sensationalize anything related to the earth, environment, global warming, etc. in the same way that they have a left leaning political agenda.

A perfect example is the AP headline that passed by tonight discussing levels of Methyl Mercury in the Great Salt Lake. The journalist writing was quick to include a paragraph that implicates humans in some way and of course never asked the simple question, what if the Great Salt Lake is producing and injecting into our environment more mercury than any man made source?

It's all about trying to pass the Kyoto Protocol and others like it, and all of stems from the liberal establishment's most fundamental and always unstated goal.

Take from the rich and give to the poor.

EMCEE: Thanks for the support. Also the book recommendation. I'll pick it up.

Posted by: Jeff B. at Feb 22, 2005 12:13:02 AM

I don't have much time to write this morning so just this bite.
This issue has been thoroughly dissected on Jerry Pournelle's blog for the last couple of years. Not only is the model simply flawed, it uses fudged data. This was exposed last year about this time but got practically no press. These new hysterics claim that the real culprit is "Sea Water Temps" but again reading further into it we again see faked data. Here is the latest on Jerrys site.

Posted by: Beto Ochoa at Feb 23, 2005 6:14:22 AM

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